Re: Digital Identity in the Migration & Refugee Context

I completely agree with you Jim.

At the end of the article, my conclusion was that the problem of
insufficient solutions for managing identity is distinct from the problem
of broken or ineffective processes. As this piece demonstrates,
implementing an automated/technical solution on top of broken or corrupt
processes can do more harm than good, but this concept isn't specific to
the refugee context in my experience.

Most corporate early adopters of DIDs we have worked with are trying to
address process inefficiencies in their businesses that cause them to
assume undue liability that eats into their margins or slows things down
unbearably (like in the refugee case); they are already investing in
optimizing their operations, so part of implementing a more portable,
privacy-first identity solution includes helping clients evolve their
business processes in tandem. We want to set them up for success, and the
right process *is* that foundation.

We have done some related work we'd be happy to share for a paper
exploration (related to US asylum seekers and persons experiencing

*KARYL FOWLER*Chief Executive Officer



On Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 3:42 AM Jim Flynn <> wrote:

> From page 25:
> "There are clear deficiencies in a system that depends on legally
> recognized ID certificates in the form of paper documents that are easily
> stolen, lost, or destroyed and also difficult to re-place once inside the
> EU. It is here where the promises of technology, through
> digitally-encrypted, decentralized ledgers, for example, may seem like a
> tempting solution. Yet any technological intervention in sociotechnical
> systems already rife with problems can amplify existing biases."
> I was disappointed that the paper didn't elaborate with examples. But, of
> course, it's fair to say that technology could turn a bad situation worse
> by making negative activities faster, cheaper and more efficient. On the
> other hand, I didn't come to the conclusion that SSI specifically would
> make the situation worse. Much of the problem stems from the asymmetry of
> power between the government and the refugees. Example: "If you want food,
> you must let us fingerprint you." Given the situation in Italy, it's
> unlikely that the government there is going to make informed consent by
> refugees its top priority. But that may not always be the case everywhere..
> There may be situations where SSI could help. For example, even if a
> refugee doesn't want to give his/her fingerprints to a government, it may
> be possible for a cultural mediator to convince the refugee to create an
> SSI relationship with an NGO, which would enable the refugee to benefit
> from the NGO's services.
> Perhaps a useful exercise would be to write a paper to explore the
> potential benefits and dangers that SSI poses to refugee populations. Does
> anyone want to work with me on that?
> Jim Flynn
> [image: image] <>
> [image: image] <>
> [image: image] <>
> ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
> On Saturday, April 20, 2019 5:11 PM, Kim Hamilton Duffy <
>> wrote:
> Excellent questions raised in this study. +1 to further discussion.
> On Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 9:19 PM Adrian Gropper <>
> wrote:
>> Digital Identity in the Migration & Refugee Context is a major study that
>> questions the use of technology. I skimmed it and saw no mention of SSI but
>> it makes me wonder how many of the problems raised in the study are we
>> actually solving. Are we at risk of making things worse?
>> I feel unprepared to comment on our refugee use-case for SSI but I hope
>> some of our group will review or run a journal club at IIW about this.
>> --
>> Adrian

Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2019 19:05:50 UTC